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How do I floss my teeth?

Learning to floss is something everyone should do – and we’re not talking about the dance move!

Flossing your teeth is an extremely important step of a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing alone only cleans 60% of the surfaces of your teeth, meaning there is a large area of your teeth that will not be getting cleaned. This is where interdental cleaning is very important, and flossing is the best way to do this.

Why do I need to floss my teeth?

As dentists, we see a large portion of our patients that don’t floss their teeth. There are many benefits to spending the time each day to clean between your teeth. When plaque collects between the teeth and is not removed regularly, it can lead to gum disease. Gum disease can result in bleeding and painful gums, gum recession and even tooth loss.

Tooth decay can also develop if the plaque isn’t cleaned away from around all surfaces of the teeth. When plaque is left, it turns into tartar which can only be removed by a dental professional. By keeping between your teeth clean, you are also more likely to have fresh breath.

Which dental floss should I use?

The first trick to making sure that you keep up daily flossing is to find a product that you enjoy using.  The most common tool for interdental cleaning is to use flossing tape on a roll, but you can also use floss ‘Y shape’ picks or interdental brushes.

We would always recommend using standard dental floss tape to start with but if you don’t get on with using it, speak to your dentist or hygienist about the alternatives. Dental floss tape comes in both waxed and unwaxed versions, and either flavoured or unflavoured. The choice is yours.

What is the best way to use flossing tape?

We often get asked what the best way to floss between teeth is. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

  • You will need approximately 18 inches of dental floss.
  • Wind an inch of it around your index finger, and then do the same on the opposite hand.
  • Grasp the floss between your thumb and index fingers and pull tightly.
  • Starting at your back teeth and moving forwards, gently slide the floss between your teeth.
  • When the floss meets the gumline, make a ‘C’ shape against one tooth. Use a push and pull motion and slide up and down the tooth.
  • Use a new area of floss and then use the same motion on the opposite tooth before moving onto the gap between the next two teeth.
  • Throw away the piece of floss when you’re finished – it is not reusable.

How often should I be flossing my teeth?

Dentists recommend flossing your teeth at least once per day. However, there is no such thing as flossing your teeth too much. We would suggest flossing your teeth before you brush, the last thing before bed. However, research has shown that the time of day and whether you floss before or after you brush does not matter. Flossing is still just as effective.

If you would like more information about flossing, please ask one of Oak Mount Dental Practice’s experience dentists or dental hygienists. They will be able to guide you through the best technique to suit you.

To book an appointment or to register as a new patient, call us on 0161 445 1211.

Posted by Oak Mount Dental Practice

Website last updated: June 2022

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